How To Choose The Best Telescope Eyepieces

A telescope eyepiece is a lens that you attach at the end of a telescope. It magnifies the image from the telescope, allowing you to view objects in the sky with more detail and clarity. The following eyepieces are those we would recommend for any beginners/ intermediate amateur astronomers.

The Celestron 1.25 inch eyepiece is the best zoom telescope eyepiece. It has an adjustable focal length between 8mm and 24mm, which lets you adjust magnification without switching eyepieces.

The Baader Hyperion 5mm eyepiece is a great choice for those looking for a high-power eyepiece to observe planets and the moon. By removing the 1.25” barrel, you can also switch it to a 22mm eyepiece for deep space observations,

The Meade Instruments 20mm eyepiece provides the widest field of view (82-degree AFOV), making it the best choice for deep space observations of star clusters and galaxies.

The Skywatcher 32mm SP Series eyepiece is our top recommendation for beginners looking for an affordable eyepiece. It’s inexpensive, easy to use and provides mid-range magnification and field of view.

Read on for a longer review of each eyepiece. But first, some tips on how to buy the right telescope eyepiece for your needs.

Telescope Eyepiece Buying Guide

A single eyepiece won’t serve all your observational needs. Observing different objects in the sky requires different types of eyepieces.

To see planets, you need a high-magnification telescope that can pick out many of the details of these relatively small celestial bodies.

For deep space observations of stars and galaxies, a lower magnification telescope with a wide field of view is the best.

Your eyepiece choice also depends on the specs of your current telescope, whether you wear glasses and your budget.

a) Budget

Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on eyepieces. You can find some excellent choices for under £100. In fact, most of our picks below are within this range.

These are great for beginners and amateurs. They are good for everyday observations and will get you quite far before you feel the need to upgrade.

In the mid-range are £100 to £250 eyepieces. They have better build quality, offer better imaging quality and have some extra features you won’t find in lower-priced eyepieces.

These are ideal for amateur astronomers who want more out of their telescope without spending a lot of money.

Over £250, you’ve got yourself a high-spec telescope eyepiece with excellent build quality, premium finish and plenty of extra features to improve your observation.

b) Magnification

Once you’ve decided which price range you are comfortable with, the next important factor to consider is magnification.

Magnification depends on the focal length of your telescope as well as that of the eyepiece. To calculate it, divide the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length.

Say you have a Celestron Astromaster telescope with 1,000mm focal length and a 10mm eyepiece. The resulting magnification power will be 100 (or 100x).

Higher magnification is not always better. It’s great for observing planets and the moon but image quality deteriorates for more distant objects.

Poor atmospheric conditions can also render a high-magnification telescope less effective.

On the other hand, a lower magnification may not deliver as bright an image but it’s better for observing distant objects like stars and nebulae.

It’s best to have a selection of different magnifications to choose from depending on atmospheric conditions and your object of study.

You can do this by buying multiple eyepieces with different focal lengths.

Remember that each telescope has a highest practical magnification as well as a minimum magnification. Take these into account when choosing the right eyepiece.

A 5mm eyepiece on a 2,000mm scope (400x magnification) may turn out to be less useful than you expected.

c) Field of View (FOV)

Field of view – expressed in degrees – determines the widest patch of sky you can observe with your telescope. It can range from 30 to 120 degrees.

Eyepieces with lower FOV are great for planetary observations. They typically have higher magnification.

Those with high FOV provide better viewing of galaxies and star clusters. They usually have lower magnification power.

The FOV figure the manufacturer provides is actually the apparent field of view (AFOV). AFOV is the measure of the circle of light your eye sees.

To get the true field of view – the actual angle of the observable sky – divide AFOV by magnification.

A 20mm eyepiece with a 50-degree AFOV, would provide a 0.5-degree field of view on a 2,000mm telescope.

We’ve divided 10x (the magnification) by 50 to get 0.5 degrees. That’s about the diameter of earth’s moon.

A wider FOV generally provides better observation overall. But you have to be careful to avoid cheap high-FOV eyepieces that provide a wide viewing angle but have lots of distortion.

Good quality eyepieces with high FOV employ additional technology to keep the image clear from the centre up the edges.

d) Eye Relief

Eye relief refers to the minimum distance between your eye and the lens for you to see the complete field of view.

The most comfortable eye relief is 12mm and higher. Lower eye relief requires your eye to be extremely close to the lens, which is a problem if you wear glasses.

For glass-wearers, we recommend an eye relief of at least 17mm.

Most eyepieces provide a variable eye relief using a removable or foldable eyecup. Use the eyecup if you wear glasses; remove it if you don’t.

e) Diameter

Most telescopes accept 1.25” wide eyepieces. So that’s the standard diameter for most eyepieces.

If you are lucky to have a telescope with a 2” focuser, you’ll enjoy a wider field of view and a more comfortable eye relief with a wider 2” eyepiece.

Some eyepieces have barrels that can be fitted into either a 1.25” or 2” focuser. They provide more versatility.

You may also come across a 0.965″ wide eyepiece. These are usually older models and you’ll have difficulty finding a telescope that accepts it.

Just stick with a 1.25” or 2” eyepiece.

f) Zoom Eyepiece

Most eyepieces have a static focal length, meaning you get just one level of magnification. A zoom lens lets you adjust the focal length and thus magnification to get the right image quality.

The biggest advantage of a zoom eyepiece is that it replaces several eyepieces. This doesn’t just save you money; it also saves you the effort of constantly switching between eyepieces while trying to maintain focus on a certain planet or star.

On the downside, a good quality zoom eyepiece that maintains image quality and provides decent FOV is fairly expensive.

Best Telescope Eyepieces Reviews

1. BEST ZOOMING: Celestron 1.25 inch 8-24mm Eyepiece Zoom

Pros

  • Adjustable magnification without changing eyepieces.
  • Adjustable field of view.
  • Multi-coated to ensure clarity.
  • Folding eyecup allows use with and without glasses.
  • Can be attached to a camera.
  • Affordable compared to other zoom eyepieces.

Cons

  • Not ideal for those looking for an eyepiece with an extra-wide field of view.

Overview

Most amateur astronomers need at least four eyepieces to cover their bases: 8mm, 10mm, 14mm and 24mm.

The Celestron zoom eyepiece replaces all these pieces with a single zoom lens. Going from low power (24mm) to high power (8mm) is as simple as turning the barrel.

You can choose any magnification between 8mm and 24mm.

If you want a 14.5mm, 17mm or 20mm, you can select them all. This provides much more versatility than fixed focal length eyepieces.

Note that you can also use this with a Barlow lens to get even more magnification options without buying a ton of different pieces.

The Celestron eyepiece fits any telescope that accepts 1.25” eyepieces. If you have a 2” focuser, you can still get this eyepiece but you’ll need to buy an adapter as well.

You’ll love this eyepiece if you dabble in astrophotography. Once you remove the rubber eye guard, you can attach a camera adapter.

What It Does Best

The ability to adjust power without constantly changing eyepieces is a real timesaver. It also makes it easy to maintain focus on the object you are observing.

To find the magnification sweet spot, start out at the lowest power (24mm). Once you focus on your object of interest, slowly increase power until you get the best image quality.

We love that you can also adjust the field of view from 40 degrees at 8mm to 60 degrees at 24mm. Combining the max focal length (low power) with the wide field of view lets you peer deeper into space to see stars, large galaxies and nebulae.

The Celestron zoom eyepiece has a removable eyecup. If you observe with glasses on, leave it on to get maximum eye relief.

To maximize your field of view, it’s easy to remove the rubber cup to get your eye closer to the lens.

The Celestron eyepiece is multicoated, an innovation that maximises light transmission, reduces reflections and improves overall image clarity especially at higher power.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Despite its versatility, the Celestron zoom eyepiece is limited when it comes to deep space observations. The 24mm max focal length won’t give you the sweeping views of galaxies and star clusters you can get from a lower power eyepiece (e.g. 32mm).

The max field of view – 60 degrees – is also not enough for wide-angle observations.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers were pleasantly surprised that the Celestron eyepiece accepts a T2 camera adapter, something many did not realise when buying it.

They also love the build quality, noting that the eyepiece has a nice heft to it that indicates durability.

The zoom feature is highly appreciated by users, with many of them praising its ease of use and convenience.

Of course, as many customers acknowledge, this is a beginner/amateur eyepiece. Don’t expect the same image quality or depth as a pro-grade eyepiece. But for the price, it does a great job.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, we think the Celestron zoom eyepiece is a great buy especially for astronomy enthusiasts who don’t want to be bogged down with multiple eyepieces.


2. BEST 5-6.9mm: Baader Hyperion 5mm Eyepiece

Pros

  • Wide field of view.
  • Fits 1.25” and 2” focusers.
  • Modular design provides multiple focal length options.
  • Threaded mountings for camera adapters.
  • Excellent image quality with minimal distortion and accurate colour reproduction.
  • Foldable rubber eyecup for use with and without glasses.
  • Comes with leather case.

Cons

  • Rubber eyecup does not sit tightly in the eyepiece.
  • A bit heavy.

Overview

If you are looking to add a planetary observation eyepiece to your collection, the Baader Hyperion 5mm eyepiece is a great choice.

With a 5mm focal length, it provides plenty of magnification power to observe nearby objects like Jupiter, the moon and gas clouds.

At a high magnification, image quality is very important. The Hyperion eyepiece features Multi-Coatings that increase light transmissions, enhance image contrast and reduce distortions.

One thing we love about the Baader Hyperion eyepiece is its versatility.

For one, it fits both 1.25” and 2” focusers. But it does more than that.

When you remove the 1.25” barrel to fit it onto a 2” focuser, you are actually removing the first set of lenses. This changes the eyepiece’s focal length to 22.5mm.

So its a 2-in-1 eyepiece. You can use the 1.25” barrel for planetary observations and the 2” barrel for low-power galaxy and star observations deeper in space.

The 68-degree field of view is large enough for deep space explorations.

Whether you use the 1.25” or 2” barrel, the eyepiece is designed to make it easy to focus on and view objects in the sky. Eye relief is great (there’s a removable eyecup for those with glasses) and the lens is large enough that you don’t have to strain your eye.

A bonus feature we like are the two camera adapter threadings – M43 and SP54. You can use these to mount a camcorder, digital camera and a wide range other photography tools.

What It Does Best

The modular design of the Baader Hyperion eyepiece is a big plus. You can replace two of your eyepieces with just this one.

Of course, you’d need to have both 1.25” and 2” focusers (or a combined 1.25”/2” focuser) to take advantage of the two focal lengths.

If you want even more versatility, the manufacturer sells Fine Tuning Rings that expand your range of focal lengths even further.

The Fine Tuning Rings (FTRs) increase the eyepiece’s magnification power.

With a 14mm FTR, the new focal length will be 4mm. With a 28mm FTR, the resulting focal length will be 3.2mm. There’s also a combined 14mm and 28mm FTR that delivers an even lower 2.6mm focal length.

The rings are great if you want to enhance your planetary observations.

If you get the three rings, your complete range will include 2.6mm, 3.2mm, 4mm, 5mm (1.5” barrel) and 22.5mm (2” barrel) focal lengths.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

The Baader Hyperion eyepiece is a bit pricey compared to other beginner telescope eyepieces. But the versatility and image quality is also much better than what you get from most entry-level eyepieces.

We think the price is worth it, and most customers who’ve used it agree.

For its price, the manufacturer could have done a better job with the eyecup. It doesn’t sit tightly on the eyepiece and sometimes keeps coming off.

If you don’t wear glasses, you might find it better to do away with it (though some non-glasses wearers prefer to keep it for comfort and to filter out external light).

Another issue to note is that the eyepiece is heavier than the once you normally use. But this is only an issue if you use a lightweight telescope. Because of vibrations, it can take some time to focus on an object.

But the weight is no problem on a heavier mount.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers think it’s worth the higher price tag. They say that the images are bright with excellent contrast and detail.

They love the modular design. Even without the extra rings, they can go from planetary observations to observing deep space objects by removing the 1.25” barrel.

Granted, it’s not as easy as zooming in or out but it’s still more convenient than switching between multiple eyepieces.

Should You Buy It?

If you are looking for a high-power eyepiece, the Baader Hyperion 5mm eyepiece is a great choice.

We also recommend it for those who’d love a 2-in-1 piece they can use for both planetary and deep space observations.


3. BEST 18-24.9mm: Meade Instruments Ultra-Wide Angle 20mm 2-Inch Waterproof Eyepiece

Pros

  • Low power and ultra-wide field of view – perfect for deep space observations.
  • Excellent image quality from edge to edge.
  • Comfortable 17.6mm eye relief.
  • Adjustable rubber eye guard.
  • Waterproof.

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • A bit pricey.

Overview

As one customer put it, looking through the Meade Instruments ultra-wide angle eyepiece feels like “sticking your head out into space”.

The 82-degree field of view delivers a stunning vista. It’s one of the widest viewing angles you can get in a telescope eyepiece.

The eyepiece is, obviously, primarily for deep space observations. With a focal length of 20mm, you won’t get very good views of Jupiter and other planets.

If you are looking to add an eyepiece to your collection for observing galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, this one by Meade Instruments is one of the best.

It’s a bit pricey – it’s the only one of our picks to cost more than £100 – but it’s worth it for serious astronomy enthusiasts.

The eyepiece is heavy. It weighs 737 grams. That’s over 1 lb. It already feels hefty in your hand before you screw it on to your telescope.

We highly recommend using it in a bigger and studier telescope for best results and ease of use.

Note that the eyepiece fits only on 2” focusers or diagonals.

What It Does Best

On a clear night, it almost feels like you are in space. Even with its low power, the Meade Instruments delivers a beautiful high quality view.

To ensure the best viewing quality, the eyepiece uses 7-element lenses with multi-coatings to minimize distortion and enhance light transmission.

Blackened edges enhance contrast to make it easier to spot objects in the sky.

Unlike some wide-angle eyepieces that have blurring and distortions towards the edges, the Meade Instruments eyepiece maintains a sharp image from edge to edge.

For an even better viewing quality, you can use the adjustable eyecup to block out external light. The eyecup is also handy for those with long eyelashes and eyeglass wearers.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

You might hesitate a bit at the price tag but rest assured, you are getting great value for your money. It is one of the best wide-angle telescope eyepieces you can buy.

As I mentioned, the Meade Instruments eyepiece is heavy. Make sure your telescope can handle it before you order the eyepiece.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers say this is the best eyepiece in their collection. It’s expensive but it’s worth it. It delivers a celestial view unlike any other telescope eyepiece.

Many users also note that it’s the heaviest piece they have. But for most, this does not affect ease of use or viewing quality.

Should You Buy It

If you want to get the best views of deep space, you should definitely buy the Meade Instruments ultra-wide angle eyepiece.


4. BEST 30-39.9mm: Skywatcher 32mm SP Series Super Plossl Eyepiece

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Good for wide-angle, low-power observations.
  • Foldable rubber eyecup.
  • Comfortable eye relief.
  • Sharp image with no distortion.

Cons

  • Limited field of view for some deep space observations.
  • Not ideal for detailed planetary observations.

Overview

If you are just getting into astronomy and are looking for a pocket-friendly eyepiece, we recommend the Skywatcher 32mm SP Series Super Plossl Eyepiece.

It costs less than half what most other entry-level eyepieces cost.

Now, it’s not our most favourite eyepiece. It doesn’t excel in any one particular area like other eyepieces. Rather, it aims to be an all-round eyepiece for beginners.

It’s not ideal for detailed planetary observations. The 32mm focal length doesn’t produce quite enough magnification power to closely study Jupiter or the moon.

It’s also not the best for deep space observations. The 52-degree field of view is decent but no match for dedicated galaxy-hunting eyepieces.

What you’ll get with the eyepiece is some basic views of planets as well as some stars and star clusters. For beginners, this is enough to introduce you to the world of celestial observations.

You get a chance to fine tune your hunting and focusing before upgrading to a better eyepiece later.

But it’s not just for beginners. Some astronomy enthusiasts use the Super Plossl Eyepiece primarily for hunting and then switch to another eyepiece for focusing.

Because it has relatively low power and medium field of view, it’s easy to swing across the sky to find what you are looking for, whether it’s a star cluster or a planet.

Once you find it, you can switch to a high-power eyepiece if it’s a planet or a low-power wide-field eyepiece if it’s something in deep space.

What It Does Best

At this price point, I did not expect much from the Super Plossl eyepiece. While it won’t show planets with great detail or give you an expansive view of the sky, the image quality is surprisingly sharp.

The 4-element design with multi-layer coatings eliminates distortions and delivers a bright image. Blackened edges improve contrast.

For a low-cost beginner eyepiece, the quality and sharpness is impressive.

We love how easy it is to use. The lens is big and the eye relief is pretty long. You don’t need to press your eye right against the lens to get a good view.

If you wear eyeglasses, the rubber eyecup provides a comfortable distance from the lens. If you don’t wear glasses, you can still use the eyecup to block external light.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

If you are looking for a dedicated planetary or deep space observation eyepiece, this is not it.

The 32mm Super Plossl is more of a middle-of-the-road eyepiece, designed to introduce astronomy hobbyists to the art of celestial observations.

What Other Customers Think

Most customers were pleasantly surprised at what they got for the low price. They love the image quality, the fairly wide field of view, the comfortable eye relief and the overall build quality.

Should You Buy It?

If you are an intermediate or experienced astronomy enthusiast looking for a dedicated eyepiece for deep space or planetary observations, consider one of the other eyepieces we’ve reviewed.

If you are just getting started and are looking to upgrade from the basic eyepiece that was included with your telescope, the Skywatcher 32mm SP Series Super Plossl eyepiece is a good choice that won’t break the bank.

You’ll probably need to upgrade to a pricier eyepiece later, but for now, the Super Plossl is perfect for your needs.

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